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The Lafayette Ledger

The Lafayette Ledger

Chaos in the House: What Happened to Biden’s $105 Billion Package?

President Biden and newly appointed Speaker of the House Mike Johnson

On October 20th, President Biden proposed a 105-billion-dollar joint aid package providing funding for Ukraine, Israel, The United States border, and Taiwan. The tremendous figure requested in this package would provide 61-billion and 14-billion to Ukraine and Israel, respectively, for training and munitions. Interestingly, it also provides for humanitarian aid in Gaza.

This proposal came quickly following the Hamas terror attacks in Israel on October 7th. Biden hoped to piggy-back off bipartisan support for Israel to get funding for Ukraine passed, which Republicans have historically opposed. Although, chaos within the House itself threw a wrench in this plan. With the ousting of Kevin McCarthy as Speaker, the house had to first elect another Speaker before moving forward with any legislation.

WASHINGTON – DECEMBER 8: The U.S. House of Representatives chamber is seen December 8, 2008 in Washington, DC. Members of the media were allowed access to film and photograph the room for the first time in six years. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

The proposal, among others, hung in limbo as the House had multiple failed votes, until finally October 25th, Speaker Mike Johnson was elected. Johnson, who the Biden Administration described as an “Extreme MAGA republican” and “Donald Trump’s loyal foot soldier” in a statement after his appointment, is known to have voted for anti-abortion, pro-trump, and climate denying legislation.

With the government funding deadline of November 17th looming overhead, Johnson said the House will adopt an “aggressive” house schedule. Initial meetings with President Biden and Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer promised bipartisan cooperation, but Johnsons new Israel aid proposal shows his real intent.

Due to near unanimous support for Israel funding, Johnson’s proposal bookmarks Ukraine and Taiwan to focus on Israel. The real fault in his proposal is coupling the aid package with a demand to cut funding for the IRS. The unrelated nature of these two subjects makes clear Johnson’s attempt to use aid for a long-standing American ally as a political pawn to carry out personal and far-right goals. This move is especially questionable considering Johnsons suspicious financial activity, including no reported bank accounts under his, nor his immediate family’s name, which has recently been subject to scrutiny.

His deal was shot down by leaders from both parties. Senate Republicans Mitch McConnell and Susan Collins called for Ukraine aid to be included in the package, and the IRS cuts were absolutely inconsiderable for many Democrats and Republicans alike. The exclusion of aid for Taiwan, the U.S. border, and Gaza were also unpopular.

The future for this bill, congress, and the government as a whole looks bleak. Conflicting motives and support delays important aid for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan, the Border crisis, and Gaza. Both parties refuse to pass one at a time, opting to leverage things everyone does support by lumping in polarizing goals, instead of getting done what is universally recognized as needed.  And Johnson’s thinly veiled agenda and lackluster first week threatens congress with another Speaker crisis. It is clear the narrowly avoided government shutdown from mid-October was not truly avoided, merely postponed.

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